Getting Started On Marketplaces: The “Big Four”
It’s a no brainer — everyone wants to increase their e-commerce sales. These days, moving beyond your own website is a necessity, and choosing where to start your marketplace journey is your first step. But with so many marketplaces to choose from, how do you know which one is best for your business? Well, if you’ve never sold on a marketplace, you should look closely at the “Big 4”: Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Jet. Here’s what you need to know about each of these e-commerce giants before taking the leap:
Hundreds of millions customers (of which 66 million are Prime members) make up one of the biggest and perhaps most well-known online marketplaces on the web. Approximately 55% of consumers begin their online shopping searches on Amazon, making a pretty strong case for why it should not be ignored. Since its launch in 1995, Amazon has experienced tremendous growth — but hasn’t lost sight of its customers. Amazon wants to make sure every part of the buying process is as easy as possible.
Amazon provides a single product detail page for all sellers to sell the same item, with the only differences being price, reputation and condition. All sellers share the title, image, bullet points, product description and product reviews.
Here are more reasons why you should consider Amazon:
- Fulfillment by Amazon Program: You send your inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center and they’ll handle the picking, shipping and customer service activities for those items plus access to promotional exposure.
- Seller Fulfilled Prime Program: You keep your inventory in-house but Amazon handles the customer service requests — plus you get the Prime badge on your listings.
- Business customers: Amazon Business allows sellers to offer business-only offers, special pricing and/or tiered quantity discounts.
- International exposure: Amazon has an established presence in 10 countries, including China and Japan.
With 169 million active buyers and 96 million unique visitors per month, eBay has a presence in 39 markets around the world, including the US. This marketplace differs from Amazon and its rivals in a couple ways:
- You don’t share a listing with other sellers. eBay provides product catalogs and structured product data for easy listing and to make it easier for buyers to find your items.
- You can have a mix of fixed price/buy it now listings and auction-style listings.
- eBay doesn’t sell its own inventory, and so will never compete with you.
- With the Global Shipping Program, you can sell to buyers in more than 100 countries and simply ship to a domestic center that handles all customs and international shipping for you.
- eBay rewards great customer service. Qualifying as a Top Rated Seller helps your position in search and you get a Top Rated Plus badge and a 10% discount on selling fees for listings that offer 1-day handling and 30-day returns.
Over the next few months, eBay is releasing new features to help sellers increase their sales.
- eBay Guaranteed Delivery: Buyers will be able to filter for items with guaranteed delivery of 3 days or less. You’ll have new ways to specify accurate shipping charges and times tailored to a buyer’s location.
- Added support for free returns. Buyers will be able to filter for free returns and you can offer partial refunds if items are not returned in the required condition.
- More insights into high demand inventory opportunities, pricing guidance, and inventory management
Did you know that $86 billion in annual GMV is generated on eBay? If you’re not selling on eBay, you’re missing out on a piece of that pie. Apply today to get started on a marketplace that boasts 169 million active buyers worldwide.
Walmart.com is the second most-visited e-commerce website in the US with 110 million unique visitors per month. In 2009, Walmart launched its own marketplace to give its customers more items and categories to choose from at competitive prices. Like Amazon, sellers of the same item sell on the same listing with price, seller reputation and condition being the differentiators.
- Everyone has to apply and qualify to become a seller. Walmart only approves professional sellers with good reputations, high sales projections and an alignment with Walmart’s values.
- Walmart will handle any customer service issues that arise from your orders so you can concentrate on selling.
- You’ll have the chance to participate in Walmart.com site-wide promotions.
Jet.com launched in 2014, making it the relatively new kid on the marketplace block. In two years it has become a top destination for buyers and sellers with its unique features. For buyers, Jet determines the retailer with the best value based on product location, buyer location and order details (i.e., product mix). For sellers, Jet’s unique dynamic pricing engine allows sellers to boost basket size and profitability by finding efficiencies based on a seller’s preset rules. These efficiencies are realized when Jet shoppers:
- Purchase multiple items
- Select a slower delivery method
- Live close to a distribution center
- Turn off the “return item” option
- Reach an order threshold
Jet is balancing the wants and needs of both buyers and sellers to create a more efficient and profitable buying and selling process. Who doesn’t want that? The only thing left to do is to get started.
Choosing which marketplace to start selling on is your first step to increasing your sales. You’ll be seen by millions of new buyers, have opportunities to participate in promotions and identify options to set yourself apart from your competition. You can also test the international markets to determine potential demand for your items.
Pro tip: If you haven’t already, add the Resource Center to your bookmarks. It’s constantly updated with new collateral to keep sellers on their toes and equipped with tips and strategies to optimize their e-commerce efforts. Happy selling!